A1 Grand Prix has cancelled its planned season opener at Surfers’ Paradise in Australia which was supposed to take place next week.
This is the second year in a row A1 has cancelled its season-opening race – last year an event at Mugello was canned at the 11th hour. Several races in the 2008/09 calendar were also shelved.
Is the writing finally on the wall for A1 Grand Prix?
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has been forced to withdraw from participation in the Nikon SuperGP on Australia’s Gold Coast on the 22-25 October in what was due to be the series’ first race of Season Five.
The series found itself in a race against time to make the deadline for when its cars would have to leave the UK to be on track in Surfers Paradise next Thursday. The series organisers never doubted this was possible, but today have been forced to accept this now cannot happen.
This decision was announced by A1GP Chairman, Tony Teixeira, who wanted to address everyone involved in the event.
“I want to personally apologise to the people affected by this regrettable but unavoidable decision,” said Teixeira.
“The Queensland Government, Gold Coast Motor Events Co, the management and Chairman of the event have been patient and supportive of us in the past weeks.
“We were proud to be part of what has become one of the world’s most iconic motorsport events, and are devastated at the decision we have had to make. We also know the Australian motorsport fans are very protective of this event and had welcomed us with open arms. To them I also apologise and stress that we wanted to put on a show for them that they would never forget.”
In view of what has happened A1GP will refund to Gold Coast Motor Events Co the sanction fee paid, and will donate AUS $50,000 to a charity designated by them. Also contractors engaged directly by A1GP who have already incurred expenses on our behalf will be fully reimbursed.
One effect of the UK operating arm of the series going into liquidation in June was that access to the cars and the ability to pay its suppliers has been impeded. What should have been a summer upgrading the machinery in time for the first race of the 2009/10 season has turned into a frustrating time for achieving this.
Looking to the future Teixeira said: “We have recently announced 19 teams who were ready to race in Australia. I know they are still committed to racing in our unique series that pits nation versus nation.
“A1GP may be down, but I do not accept we are out. We have had four exciting seasons that have proved we are a force in the sport and now we shall consolidate on what we have achieved to date. My efforts will be on finding a way forward with the support of some very loyal people.”